In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon fine-grain salt
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pinch (or more to taste) ground cayenne pepper*, optional
Hot milk or water to serve
Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, milk powder, salt, cornstarch and cayenne in a large airtight container. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine, and remember to shake prior to every extraction.
To serve: Place 2 tablespoons of the mix in a mug and add about 2 fluid ounces hot water or milk. Stir to combine. Fill the mug with more hot water or milk and enjoy.
* The Aztecs always added chiles to their chocolate. Even a pinch ups the flavor ante quite a bit, and as called for here certainly won’t be sensed as “heat.”
No matter — this is fast, easy and will keep for a year if kept in an airtight container in a cool place.
2 teaspoons sesame oil
6 scallions, white part finely sliced, green part chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
5 small dried chiles (optional)
¼ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
In a medium pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the finely-chopped white scallions, garlic, ginger and chiles, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar and mirin, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch to combine. Pour about ¼ cup of the hot sauce over the mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and lump free. Return the mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in the large pieces of green scallion.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and has good flavor, 7 to 9 minutes more.